Surfing in La Union (or not quite)

February 12, 2012
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La Union, how do I love thee? Let me count the waves…

The moment we stepped foot in La Union, I instantly fell it love with it.

And what’s not to love? The endless expanse of beach. The feel of the warm sand between my toes. The hot sun on my face. The sound of the waves crashing endlessly on the shore. And at night, the dark sky lit up by hundreds of stars.

Just the simple beauty and Zen of it all almost made me forget that I was here for a battle: to conquer the waves!

I’ve always wanted to learn surfing. There’s something extremely cool about being able to ride the waves, on it, alongside it. In it, even.

I was supposed to go in November 2011, for my annual 7-day mandatory leave. But 2 days before my scheduled trip, I came down with a fever and had to postpone. Also, my family was apprehensive about me traveling alone. I was finally able to go on the trip last month, with my friend Jinbei. Yay! (Check out his post on our La Union trip and a review of Normi2s Beachfront Resort).

I used to have a fear of the water, mainly because I don’t know what’s under that dark expanse. Countless trips to the beach made me overcome it. Now I am able to ride an outrigger boat while staring at the sea and not fearing that a shark will come out of nowhere and grab me for his next meal. ^_^So I thought, OK time to go surfing and tick off another water sport in my bucket list.

The first day in La Union, however, we weren’t able to surf. So it’s just eating, watching movies, listening to music, staring at the stars, chatting, laughing,  trying to out-wit, out-joke, out-tease each other. :D

Finally, on the second day, we were able to meet our instructors. They didn’t even introduce themselves. (I kept myself from asking them, “if we keep on surfing, will we get sick abs like yours??”) They just strapped us to our surfboards and it was down to business.

At the beach, they showed us the basics of surfing. First, lie flat on your stomach on the board, positioning yourself so that your feet is a few inches from the end of the board. A little further and you will definitely lose your balance on the water. Then start paddling. Then time to stand up from the board. You have to use the force of your arms to push up into a standing position. Once you are up, bend your knees and ride! I thought, shoot, is that it? I can really do this. Let’s hit the water!

Channeling my inner Kono Kalakaua**

Grace Park as Kono Kalakaua

I am not quite Kono Kalakaua :(

A little later, we were paddling away from the shore. The waves were a little bigger than I expected and kept hitting me on the face. A little further, and I knew my feet will not touch sand once I fall off my board. Shit. Good thing I was strapped securely to the board and I have something to hold on to in case I do fall. Also, my instructor was swimming right beside me. Still, I held on to that board for dear life.

As soon as we were far enough, I felt my instructor grab my board and turn it to face the shore. He told me to get ready to stand up as soon as a big wave comes and hits me. OK, this is easy peasy. Then a wave hits me. And the moment I tried to get up, I slipped and hit my chin on my board. Grrr. What the hell was that?

OK, no problem. Just wait for the next wave. I paddle away from the shore again then turned around and waited. OK, here’s one. Let’s go!

Mission accomplished! NOT. The only thing I accomplished was keeping myself from getting hurt as I attempted to stand up from the board. Argh. No matter what I did, I could not get up.

And they make pushing up from the board look so easy on Hawaii Five-O…it’s damn unfair!

This went on for another half an hour, until the instructor hauled me off to the beach. Apparently, the water is getting a little higher and they can no longer keep up with the waves.

First surfing lesson: epic fail!

I was bummed at not being able to stand up on the board and surf. That and not getting Spam for breakfast and not getting to wish on a shooting star. :( :( :(

But if it’s any consolation, Jinbei (aka Ed Cullen!!) wasn’t successful too :P From where I was surfing (or attempting to), I could see he was having a difficult time too, but I thought he did much better than me.

But what the heck. At least I tried. I tried and I still like it. And I am definitely going back to try (I still have another CashCashPinoy voucher, haha). I’m not stopping until I’ve accomplished my mission!

As a matter of fact, I already have a few surf resorts and schools in mind. ;)

What happens in La Union stays in La Union?

Obviously not. Because I went home to Manila with all my hurts. I went home with bruised knees and chin, and a very sore left shoulder – which I probably got from too much paddling. My ego was also a little scarred, but nothing that will kill me ;)

Back in Manila, I was nursing my battle scars. In fact, it took over a week for my shoulder to fully recover. After I was fully healed, I started working on my upper body strength by doing push ups. I also kept on with my core muscles and leg muscles workout. I plan to do this until the end of February, then I will work on my popups. Yeah, that’s what Kono Kalakaua kept telling her surfing students. Practice your popups on the floor.

If only my floor was as wobbly as the water, right? ;)

**Surf girl champ/Five-O member Kono Kalakaua, played by actress Grace Park in the Hawaii Five-O remake.

If only my surfing instructor looked like Steve McGarrett!!

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